Small man on the big screen! 😀
Just press Play, below…


Vaccinations part II

Whew. Well this time the vaccinations went much more smoothly. Finn had a full tummy, a preemptive dose of infant Tylenol, and a quick nap before he got the shots. He was remarkably calm, and only cried for a grand total of 5 seconds during and immediately after the shots. As soon as I got him onto my lap, he chilled out completely. Thank God that nurse was so fast with the syringes!
We had another weigh-in as well, just to make sure he’s getting enough to eat. I have been feeding him a bit less each meal in hopes of stemming the fountains of spit-up that accompany every feeding. He’s doing great, of course, as my ever-larger biceps can attest…he is up to 15 lbs 12 oz! The Tiny Giant roars ahead, stomping all smaller, wimpier babies in his path!


Battle… Domendite!

Margot and I watch way too much “Iron Chef America“–or rather, we did pre-Finn, when watching TV was actually an option. We get a particular kick out of the ridiculous character of “The Chairman’s Nephew,” played by a totally overwrought martial artist, screaming “Battle… {food item}!!” at the start of every show. It’s all accompanied by frenetic camera zooms, dry ice smoke, and him giving kind of a karate chop towards the ingredient du jour (“Battle… GOAT LIVER!!”).
For some reason (long-term sleep deprivation, or maybe the 100-degree heat here in San Jose), I’m reminded of all this when I look at some recent Finnpix. Therefore I present… “Battle… DOMENDITE!*” (HTML)
* Translation for everyone who isn’t a weirdo who grew up in Galena, IL: big toe. 😉


Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mom’s Day to all the mothers out there, and most especially to newly minted mom Margot!
We’re having a pretty quiet day, with Finn alternately fussing, sleeping, eating, and staring at things (“regarding faces,” as the baby books say); in other words, I suppose it’s been like pretty much every day, ever. 😉
While Margot gives our friend a snack, I’ve uploaded a gallery of images from the day (also in HTML). You can see the little tree I bought for the occasion. Its little bushes of leaves remind me of Margot’s “mop,” and the whole thing makes me think of a Margot-and-Finn arboreal peanut. 🙂 See also Finn’s newfound love of exploring his tongue.


The 10-Minute Rule, Subterfuge, and Other Mysteries of Baby Sleep

It’s 9:02 p.m. and Finn knows EXACTLY where I am. He KNOWS. Even though he’s “asleep” he knows that he’s not in my arms, nor in John’s arrms, which is where he’d most definitely prefer to be. He knows that I am nearby but not nearby enough to make him sleep like the dead.
I have noticed a lot of interesting and also frustrating elements of Finn’s sleep patterns. There’s the 10-Minute Rule, which is the rule that guarantees 10 minutes (almost to the exact second) after you transfer Finn from your arms to the crib or bassinett, he will WAKE UP like a bolt of lightening and start complaining–regardless of how soundly he was sleeping while you were holding him. Honestly, he will be absolutely stone cold motionless in your arms the entire time he’s there, and 10 minutes after you move him, once his little brain catches on, the jig is most definitely up. I’ll let you know what’s happening at 9:12 p.m., exactly 10 minutes after I put him back in his bassinett after he woke up (which was 10 minutes after John put him down for the night).
The 10-Minute Rule is the reason there is so much attempted sleep subterfuge with babies. It seems like we spend a lot of time tricking them into falling asleep, staying asleep, and not letting them catch on that they’ve been transferred to an actual bed. The rocking, shushing, swaddling, swaying, pacifying, ever-so-gentle depositing of said baby into the crib so as not to wake him, it’s all just so much trickery to keep them asleep. And the majority of the time none of it works at all. He wakes up, you start all over again, and hope that the next time it sticks so you can go to sleep. I would be really interested to tally up the number of hours moms and dads spend rocking their kids into submission!
I’m sure these traits are all remnants of primitive man…it was probably pretty critical for little humanoids to be hyper-aware of where they were and whether there was any danger or weirdness afoot, particularly while sleeping. Now how that translates into a 10 minute delay I have no idea. The saber-toothed tiger hovering near the mouth of your cave would certainly have devoured you in less than 10 minutes, right?
Well, it’s 9:13 p.m. and althougth Finn’s making tons of awake-ish noises, I don’t think he’s actually awake. So i’ve outsmarted him for at least 11 minutes this time.



When you listen to as much jazz as we do throughout the day, well, a little soft-shoe will inevitably break out. 🙂 Here are the pix. (Also in HTML.)


Quiet times on the ol’ Finnblog

Greetings, fellow Finnthusiasts. 🙂 Our normal pace of “More updates about a largely immobile bambino than anyone would have thought possible” has been slowed a little this week by the unexpected demise of ol’ dad’s hard drive. Fortunately I was able to recover everything (or very close to everything), and my big cache of Finn photos seems safe. Margot and I are busily queuing up entries on “Tot Pattern Baldness,” “Playing the Finnstrument,” and more. Oh, and I hope to have our wee man make his YouTube debut quite soon. Stay tuned!


Root, Root, Root for the Cubbies

Hey Chicago, whaddya say?
The Finnster’s gonna win to-day…

Finn’s Grandma Liggett is a diehard Chicago Cubs fan, which is a fondness also shared by the Nack side of his family (all Illinois natives!). Just this week, Grandma L sent Finn a little Cubs jersey/onesie so he can start rooting for the family’s team. It is, of course, absolutely adorable on him, which you can see for yourself. He seems pretty excited to be wearing it, and we hope it still fits by the time he makes it to Chicago in August to visit his extended family!
Here’s a gallery of Finn sporting the new duds (also in HTML).


You’re getting veeeeery sleeeeepy

I’ve hesitated to share this information for fear of jinxing our progress, but it seems to be sticking so here goes…Finn has graduated to sleeping up to 7 hours at a stretch at night! This is a particularly glorious development for Mom, because it means I actually feel like I’m getting decent sleep. For the past week or so, Finn has been lengthening out his first stretch of night sleeping, and once he goes down around 8 or 9 p.m., he sleeps until about 2 or 3 a.m. Hooray! Then he’ll nurse and go back to sleep until 6 or 7 a.m.
So we’re down to 1 middle-of-the-night feeding and keeping our fingers crossed that he keeps working towards an even longer stretch of uninterrupted sleep. I’m crediting not only Finn’s development, but the continued swaddling and the installation of light-blocking shades in his bedroom and our bedroom (where he currently sleeps in his co-sleeper, a.k.a. the bed’s sidecar).



On a lighter note (than vaccinations and squalling)…

Our beamish boy was beaming indeed this Wednesday as his mom & I took him out for his first night away from home. We stayed at Le Meridien in San Francisco as I was working late at an Adobe event next door. M&D munched on room service (take that, expense account!) while the wee man partied on the “Big Boy Bed.” Amazingly, no one died in the night due to collisions with unfamiliar furniture. Finn’s sleep pattern was more whacked out than it’s been lately, but we figured this would be a good dry run for this summer’s planned trips to Colorado and Illinois.
To see more pix of our adventure, click the link above or click here (also available in smaller HTML form).
PS–Finn looks duly suspicious of his dad’s new Finn-enabled exercise regime.


2 Month Checkup Stats

Today was Finn’s 2 month checkup with Dr. S. We can hardly believe he’s 2 months old already! He weighed in at 14 lbs 12 oz, and 24 inches tall. That’s one inch taller and more than 2 lbs heavier than last month. He also gained 1 cm in head circumference (40 cm vs. 39 cm last month). So he’s definitely a healthy, thriving boy.
Finn also got a couple of his vaccination shots today and let me tell you, it was no picnic. It continues to be no picnic. FIrst off, by the time he got his shots, he’d already been roused from a nap (which he was late in getting anyway because he fought it so hard this morning), stripped down to his diaper for weighing, poking, and prodding, and he was hungry because it was coming up on time to eat. Those three things alone create a squalling, red-faced baby. Then we hit DEFCON 1 when he got jabbed twice in the thigh for the vaccinations. I had yet to see him that distraught.
And the distress carries on–he’s been mostly asleep today, sleeping off the trauma and pain (I imagine), but when he’s awake, he’s really upset. Crying inconsolably until he falls asleep again. The doc said he’d be extra fussy and boy was she right. I just got some baby Tylenol (per her suggestion) and dosed him up to see if that will take away some of the pain from the injection site. He’s asleep in the sling on my chest right now after our brisk walk to Walgreens to get the Tylenol.
Wish us luck the rest of the day!
[Update: I’m happy to report that Finn had chilled way out by the time I got home. The three of us had a nice rest of the evening, and Finn got to meet a nice Irish gent named Steve who dropped by with gifts. –J.]


Baby Argot

It may not surprise you to find out that John and I have created lots of baby-related slang lately. Here are a few of the most-used:

  • diaper burrito: the hermetically sealed plastic sack of diapers from the Diaper Genie II
  • baby burrito: a tightly swaddled Finn
  • cochecito: stroller (thanks to Adolfo and Romina from Argentina for this one!)
  • cachetes guapos: literally “handsome cheeks” in Spanish, also from Adolfo & Romina
  • Dipe/di-a-per: diaper. John likes to over-articluate, & I like to shorten words
  • a trip to the lecheria: nursing
  • snoozando: sleeping Finn (-ando being the equivalent of “ing” in Spanish)

Fat sailors & the “Captain’s Log”

Man, sometimes I’m really thankful that Margot asks about things instead of just wondering in silence. Really glad.
As we may have mentioned, she’s been incredibly diligent about recording Finn’s every feeding, nap, etc. in a pad called “the Captain’s Log” (after Captain Squirrelulon, of course). A few days ago I was listening to NPR and heard a funny bit about people trying to say things in foreign languages and the trouble that can result. Later I heard Margot exclaim,
“I… ‘I like to sleep on fat sailors, the ace up your hole’… Whaaat??
I’d jotted down a couple of the funny mistranslations in the log (the only pen and paper within reach), but without giving them any label or explanation. I had to explain quickly:

  • An American guy had gone camping with some Germans and tried to say, “I like to sleep on thick mattresses,” but he instead said, “I like to sleep on fat sailors”
  • An Indian guy was trying to calm down an irate customer and wanted to say, “That’s your ace in the hole” or “That’s the ace up your sleeve,” but instead managed to say, “That’s the ace up your hole.” He said that this at least broke the tension. 🙂

Needless to say, if I write weird bits in the log again, I’ll take the time to explain the context!


A Few Thoughts on Nursing

When I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I really wanted to breastfeed Finn–there are so many health benefits, it’s far less expensive and easier to tote around than formula, and it’s great for mom/baby bonding. There was really no question in my mind. I found it very interesting that when we went to the breastfeeding class at the hospital, they spent a lot of time selling breastfeeding to us based on its health benefits (smarter kids, better immunity, less colic, etc.). They also (rightfully) discussed the facts about getting started breastfeeding. It’s not like falling off a log, to put it mildly. It takes work, and patience, trial and error, ice packs, and lanolin until you finally get it right. I appreciate all the breastfeeding moms I know being very honest with me about that–it helped set my expectations.
And now that I’ve been at it for a couple of months, what I find the most interesting is what the classes and the other moms didn’t mention at all, and that is that breastfeeding is also a very emotionally intense and sometimes fraught experience. I had no idea how many different emotions would be wrapped around nursing my child! When he’s super fussy, yelling and pumping his fists in front of my breasts instead of just calmly nursing, it hurts my feelings and makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong (answer: nothing! he probably has to burp!). When he’s nursing every 90 minutes or 2 hours, you feel like an indentured servant to your child, because you’re the only one that can nourish him. And of course you want him to thrive and be happy and healthy, but sometimes the sheer monotony of sitting still while he nurses for 30 min to 45 min at a time can really drive you up the wall. (I had to impose a boycott of NPR for awhile since that’s what I listen to while I nurse. We switched to the jazz station!).
It’s definitely a yeoman’s job–you just have to stick with it, work through it, and try not to take things so personally when it’s not going so well. And in my case, thanks to Captain Reflux, you have to get used to wearing a lot of spit-up breastmilk that you wish he was able to keep down!


Sunday In The Park With Finn

Today we celebrated Finn’s 8-week B-day by taking him to the park in nearby Los Gatos. We spied what Margot dubbed “the tiny train filled with tiny people” and eagerly imagined taking him for a ride on it. A family we encountered had just rescued two abandoned kittens from the bushes, but somehow I failed to get a picture of los gatos in Los Gatos (d’oh!). In any case, here are a few snaps I did take along the way (also available in smaller HTML form).


And now, a word from our Finnster…

Finn has a message for you; click the photo at left to see it. 🙂


The Return of Grunge

Before having Finn on the scene, I was completely clueless about how much time and effort taking care of an infant entails. I wondered why moms at the grocery store or out and about looked so bedraggled and why they dressed like schlumps…Well, now I know why. When your baby eats every 2 hours, and it takes him 30 minutes to eat, then another 30-60 of playtime/getting sleepy before he finally goes down for a nap that might only last 30 minutes, you don’t have ANY time to do anything like take a shower or comb your hair. And if your baby’s like Finn, and takes spitting up to the heavyweight level, all of your clothes are going to be covered, to varying degrees, with spit up anyway, so why would you put on anything decent?

It kind of reminds me of when I moved to Seattle. Grunge fashion started making sense once I’d spent a couple months slogging through endless days of drizzle, ruining my shoes and destroying pant-hems with water and grime. Why not just buy all your clothes at goodwill and never bother to wash them?

I do, however, manage to shower, usually once John gets home and I have him to back me up. And thank God for lipstick: it’s the easiest and most effective way to pull myself together before I go out, in an attempt not to look completely worn out. I think the lipstick must distract people from the dark rings around my eyes.


Harvey Karp: M.D/Genius

A lot of our parent-friends told us about Harvey Karp M.D., author of “The Happiest Baby On The Block”. It’s a book about how to help calm and soothe your newborn, and the techniques in the book are also designed to help your baby sleep longer and more soundly. We have Dr. Karp’s instructional video as well as his book. I have 6 words for Harvey:
Dr. Karp, you are a GENIUS.
We are using most of the tools and techniques to calm Finn down when he spirals into a meltdown, and to keep him asleep during the night. Swaddling and “shooshing” are the techniques we use the most, and man do they work like a charm. The swinging and sucking (pacifier) layered on top are almost 100% guaranteed to result in Finn becoming absolutely placid and most importantly, asleep when he’s fighting it. Swaddling alone has resulted in Finn sleeping an extra 30 min to an hour between night feedings, and has also added some time to his naps. The shooshing and swinging help get him in the mood before I lay him in the crib. Honestly, we would be up a creek without Dr. Karp’s insights.
Just today I have avoided or shortened a couple of near-meltdowns prior to naptime, making the Nack household a happier and calmer place. Let’s hope we can keep it up!


The Tiny Giant

Finn and I went to the New Moms Support Group at the hospital today, just to hang out with some other moms and babies, and to get out of the house. There were a TON of folks attending, probably 20 moms and their babies, ranging from 3 weeks to 7 months old. It’s a nice place to meet and chat with other moms, and I walked away with a few good tidbits of information that I wouldn’t have otherwise known:
1. Finn is a tiny colossus! Compared to most of the other babies, even the ones that are 4 and 5 months old, he is much bigger and more robust. He could take on any of those head-controlling, sitting-up wimps any day! I honestly had no idea he was so big for his age. The other 7-week old baby in attendance was tiny in comparison! His size is deceiving–maybe that’s why John and I keep expecting him to start reciting Shakespeare, practice his stand-up comedy routines, and start driving the car any day 🙂 [Seriously, last night I dreamt that he helped me assemble a crib! –J.]
2. The Miracle Blanket–my new answer to the problem of Finn being too big for the receiving blankets I’ve been trying to use to swaddle him. He keeps busting loose because the blanket is just too small to properly bundle him up and stay tight. A few of the other moms use the Miracle Blanket and swear by it, and one even had an extra that she just dropped off for me to try, so we’ll give it a shot. Basically it has extra little flaps to help keep baby’s arms straight down by his sides, and is extra long so you can wrap it around his body 2 times instead of 3/4 time like the receiving blanket.
3. It is (unfortunately for me!) totally normal for Finn to be eating every 2 hours at this stage. Babies need to eat 8-12 times a day depending on size/age, so he’s totally average. The good news is that he goes longer at night between feeds, and lets me sleep for 3 hours or so at a time.


How Relaxed are We Right Now?

Otherwise known as the Six Degrees of Aggravation: relaxed (or not-so-much) states of Finn, in high/low order of magnitude:
1. Beet-red faced howling, fists and legs pumping furiously
2. Periodic squalls, fists clenched, body stiff as plywood, fighting sleep
3. Smallish fussy whimpers, fairly relaxed body except for those fists (still fighting sleep)
4. Awake, aware, calm, possibly smiling and cooing (a.k.a. “nice to be around”)
5. Drowsy and relaxed (mom’s almost tricked me into falling asleep!)
6. Limp as a wet lasagna noodle, hands open, snoring
[Dad puts us at about a 3.6 right this minute. 🙂 –J.]